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Species of wood

This is a pale pink to red wood whose colour is homogeneous enough. Its grain is fine. Its intertwined veins create some tripes. It's a light wood.


It's easy to dry and stable to the use. Its solidity is mean but the heart of some big trunks is very frail sometimes. It resists fairly enough to the fungical attacks. This is a wood which is pleasant to work and that polishes oneself easily. In addition, the African mahogany is light and durable.


This wood is used for all kinds of use : copy of ancient furniture, decorative veneerings, doors, shipbuilding.


The mahogany is the first wood which was used. The one of Cuba was introduced in Europe by the Spanish as far back as the end of sixteenth century. Today, this wood is become rare and this name defines particurlarly the woods coming from Brasil, Perou... and others countries of America.


This mahogany is more copper coloured than the African mahogany and darkens rapidly with the air. It can have some irregular veins, what very beautiful effects constitute.


It always regards like the most beautiful of mahogany and it's used for the high quality furniture. It can be carved and engraved very delicately.

African mahogany

Type Khaya



Other names

N'Gollon (Cameroon)

Oganwo (Nigeria)

Déhé (Centrafrica)

N'Dola (Congo)



Type Swietenia



Other names


Caoba (Cuba)

Baywood (Tabasco)

Agüano (Perou)

African mahogany

Specific weight

0.45 to 0.60

tender (African mahogany)

semi-hard (Mahogany)


This tree grows in the north of south América, particularly in Guyana and Brasil. In reality, this name of purpleheart is generic because it defines twenty or so species of trees, high of 30 to 45 meters with a diameter of 1 meter minimum.


Its colour is red-purple and becomes darker with the time. Its grain can be fine to moderately thick. The veins are intertwined or rather right, they can even be undulating. It's a dense durable wood which takes a beautiful polish.


It dries well but slowly with few modifications. It's stable to the use and very solid. Its great specific weight makes it a difficult wood to saw, what explains that it blunts the used tools to work it. The varnishing is easy but the colour can fade with the time.


It's used with moderation for the decorative effects owing to the fact that its high color. It's useful more particularly to the making of little turned objects and veneering for the marquetry. Its great resistance enables it to be a wood used for building (bridges, piles, vats for chemical, floors being able to support important weights).

Type Peltogyne



Other names

pao roxo (Brasil)

guarabù (Brasil)

purpleheart (Surinam)



sakavali (Guyana)

tananéo (Colombia)


This tree comes from Surinam and French Guyana but a similar tree also grows in Brasil. It sizes between 30 to 50 meters and has a right tall trunk.


The colour of its wood is variable according to the subjects and begins from light brown to purplish-blue red and the grey too. Its aspect is regular with a plain colour but it's characterized by a rough grain with some large ligneous vessels which create right lines.


It's a tough and heavy wood which is very durable. It's imputrescible and supports the bad weather well, from which the name of "teck of Guyana" which is gave it, even if there is no relation between these two woods.


Its seasoning is easy but one must be careful that this operation be made slowly because otherwise it has a tendency to split. When it's dry, it becomes abrasive.


Its uses are varied, going from the cabinet making to the outside woodwork, the cooperage, the floor planks and staircases. Owing to the fact that it exists large sizes of beam in that wood, it's also used to make some piles, hulls of ships...


It's an African tree exported more particularly from Cameroon and Gabon. This name Bubinga defines three high species (30 meter) with thin round trunks. A similar wood exists in the south of Central Africa called "copal wood of Rhodesia".


Its colour is strong brown with some veins often darker but whose colour becomes fade when the wood stays a long time exposed to the air. Its texture is fine enough with a middle texture. Its aspect becomes very interesting when the grain is undulating or irregular. It's a heavy wood with a great specific weight.


The bubinga seasones well but slowly. It's stable at the use when it's dry. Durable and strong, it's not very elastic however.


This wood is used more particularly for the marquetry but also to make some objects like handles of knives, pedestals, articles of desk. Its resistance makes it possible to use it for outside woodwork. The varnishing is easy.


Mean dry weight

880 kg/m3


Specific weight

0.90 to1.00

hard to very hard


Dicorynia guianensis




Other name

Angelico do Para



Specific weight

0.70 to 0.90 hard


Type Guibourtia




Other names

Kevazingo (Gabon)

Waka (Zaïre)

Essingang (Cameroon)


Mean dry weight

880 kg/m3


Specific weight

0.80 to0.95



The African mahogany is used since the end of nineteenth century in order to make good the lack of mahogany coming from America. Different from the last, they are, however, very close about the botany. In fact, it's five species which are amalgamated under the name of African mahogany.

This chapter is intended to present to you some kinds of wood used in marquetry. Each wood will be described according to its technical qualities with a little biologic outline. Of course, this list isn't exhaustive and will be completed in the future.

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